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Subaru Outback tackles sun, snow and the daily commute

In a crowded market of crossover SUVs, the new Subaru Outback stakes its claim with light offroad capability and a new, upscale interior option.

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Wayne Cunningham
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In states with mountains and snow, you are guaranteed to find more than a few Subaru fans. Good ground clearance, standard all-wheel drive and practical interior space for people and cargo has made the Outback particularly popular in the Subaru line-up.

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The Outback model vies with the Forester for most popular Subaru model, and currently sits at the top of the line-up for size. However, rumors of a new seven-passenger Subaru model have been cropping up.

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The newest version of the Outback uses translucent lenses around the headlight casing to give the car a unique night-time signature.

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This 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder engine makes 175 horsepower, while a 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder, for those needing more hauling power, is also available.

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The Outback not only comes standard with all-wheel drive, Subaru also gives it 8.7-inches of ground clearance, so that even the cheapest version boasts off-road capability.

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These cameras looking out of the windshield are part of the EyeSight advanced safety system, which not only hits the brakes to avoid impending collisions, also enables adaptive cruise control, to make traffic driving easier.

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The Outback has a station wagon-like profile, although it sits a bit higher up than those road cruisers of yesteryear.

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The Outback comfortably seats five, while retaining cargo space.

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Subaru peps up the Outback's handling with corner braking, which lightly applies the brakes on the inside wheels in a turn.

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With its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the Outback claims 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

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With the rear seats up, the Outback offers 35.5 cubic feet of cargo space.

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The new Touring trim, the top of the line for Outback, gives buyers a premium interior.

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Subaru calls this color Java Brown. Besides leather seats, the Touring package makes the Outback fully loaded with comfort and advanced safety features.

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This satin finish wood trim shows off a very naturalistic look that Subaru owners will appreciate.

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The 7-inch touchscreen, a little small considering the competition, shows basic navigation, hands-free phone and stereo.

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The electric power steering system gives a natural and direct feel.

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With the fully loaded Outback Touring, the feature-set gets almost ridiculous.

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This instrument cluster screen shows graphics for advanced safety features, such as lane-departure warnings and fuel economy.

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The only transmission available on the Outback now is a continuously variable system, which finds the best ratio for the driving situation.

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